NAUGATUCK — The Naugatuck American Legion baseball team has fallen off the mark a bit in Zone 5.
Through 19 games, Naugatuck has compiled a 10-9 record and stands in fourth place in the Zone standings. Five of those losses have come by a combined seven runs.
Last week Naugatuck suffered a pair of 5-4 losses that could have ended up in the win column. Post 17 will be pushed this week to qualify for the state tournament.
“It’s not for a lack of effort,” Naugatuck head coach Rob Dibble insisted. “We are just ending up one out shy and one hit shy in a lot of these games. It’s a little discouraging, but it certainly isn’t from a lack of effort on our part.”
Naugatuck picked up a much needed win to stay in the hunt for a playoff spot on Saturday. Post 17 squeaked out a 3-2 victory over Danbury in the opening game of a double-header.
Josh Aviles toiled the first six innings on the hill for Naugatuck. Jason Bradley went the final two innings, and Post 17 pulled out the eighth-inning win.
Kyle Plasky put himself in position to be the winning run after leading off in the eighth with a walk. He stole second and then advanced to third on an error. John Dean knocked in the winning run reaching on a groundout that was thrown away for an error.
Kyle Plasky and Chris Anderson each had doubles, while Bradley and Aviles added RBIs to pace the Post 17 attack.
Naugatuck left a victory on the field in game two. Danbury scored the tying run with two outs in the seventh on a throwing error that would have ended the game. Danbury took advantage of two walks off Adam Tavares to lead off the bottom of the tenth inning. Danbury wound up scoring the winning run later in the inning.
Tavares led the Naugatuck offense with two hits and two RBIs. Kyle Plasky, Aviles, Anderson and Ethen Mester each added hits.
“You can’t walk the first two batters in an inning and expect to win the game,” Dibble said. “We are also giving up a lot steals and that doesn’t help the situation. We are putting ourselves in a hole because some of these games we are just not closing out.”
Post 17 fell a run shot again on Sunday in a tough 5-4 loss to Waterbury. Anderson brought Naugatuck back from a deficit with a three-run homer to tie the game in the fifth. The homerun brought scored Bradley, who walked, and Tavares, who singled.
John Dean went the distance allowing just three hits. However, he surrendered a hit batter and a walk to the first two batters in the seventh, as Waterbury scored the winning run in their final turn at the plate with two outs.
“We have 10 games left and this is going to be a big week for us if we are going to qualify for the state tournament,” Dibble said. “We have two double headers coming up and that is four winnable games for us. We need to come ready to play.”
Naugatuck started off its push to cement a postseason spot with a 2-0 win over Monroe Tuesday night. Tavares pitched the complete game shutout. Post 17 followed up the win with a 5-1 victory over Easton at home Wednesday.
Naugatuck will face Prospect-Beacon Falls Friday at 5:45 p.m. at Rotary Field. Naugatuck will visit Oxford Saturday for a twin bill at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. that will hold a lot of weight as to whether Post 17 earns the final playoff spot in Zone 5.